Election officials for the state of Washington told KIRO 7 that rewarding voters with free coffee is illegal.
"No good deed goes unpunished," said Nick Handy, director of elections.
Handy said there is a federal statute that prohibits any reward for voting.
Starbucks' good deed can be perceived as paying someone to vote, and that’s illegal, Handy said.
"The way it is written, it expressly prohibits giving any kind of gift," Handy said.
Handy said the intent of the statute is aimed at special interest groups trying to influence who and how people vote.
To fix the situation, Starbucks had agreed to give a tall cup of coffee to anyone who asks on Election Day.